The parents of the three missing Bradford sisters who are feared to have travelled to Syria with their children said they were “devastated by the sudden disappearance”.
In a statement, the parents and family of Sugra, Zohra & Khadija Dawood said they did not support their actions in “taking their children into a war zone” after disappearing earlier this month.
The three sisters flew out to Saudi Arabia last month for an Islamic pilgrimage and should have returned on June 11, but were found to have flown to Turkey two days earlier.
Police said yesterday that they had received contact from one of the sisters which suggested they had travelled to Syria with their nine children, aged three to 15.
The statement said: “The parents and family members are devastated by the sudden disappearance of the three sisters and their children.
“This has caused great distress to the family and has also stopped us from living a normal life in the U.K since this incident. We are very worried about the children who could now be in a dangerous place.
“We do not support the actions of the sisters leaving their husbands and families in the UK and of taking their children into a war zone where life is not safe to join any group. We plea to anyone thinking about making a similar journey not to go.
“We are also very happy with the help and support we have had from the Police and the way they have handled the enquiry.
“Since this incident we have found it very difficult and upsetting to be in the media spotlight and would appreciate if the media let the rest of the family live a normal life as possible.
“We as family do not hold ourselves or the police responsible for the actions taken by the three sisters and ask all media companies to stop camping outside the doorstep. We ask for privacy right now as we try to cope with what has happened and hope everyone respects that.”
Earlier today, a former senior prosecutor claimed the flight of young Britons to join Islamic State is not receiving enough attention from the state or Muslim communities.